“Every moment spent in unhappiness is a moment of happiness lost.”
It has been a week of difficult news about deaths of people we knew from previous parishes. A number of their relatives became friends and as I sat with them via telephone, because of the distance, a part of me missed being there to participate in the celebration of these wonderful lives and a selfish part of me was very happy to be so far away from the difficult deaths.
In the midst of the news of these deaths there were a few practical things that were in need of doing here, sorting books was high on the list. Some stayed, some went to the office and some to a library but in the midst of the sorting I came across a little treasure that was suggested to me when I did my chaplaincy unit at the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax, many years ago. This little book, a story for all ages, tells about the seasons of life from the perspective of a leaf. It is a treasured book. It has been loaned numerous times, lost once or twice and now never leaves home! (I have a second one for loaning) It was a timely find amongst the books on my shelves and I took a few minutes to read this metaphor for life once again and the end of the book, just like the first time I ever read it, still made me smile.
The story tells the story of life from the perspective of a leaf and the seasons that one goes through in life. The book reminded me that seasons can be long or short but despite the timeline that we use to measure the greatness of life, in terms of years, it is perhaps more fitting to look at how much of an impact the person made in the lives of others, how they touched people and the gift they bestowed when they shared of themselves with us for a short time. The book also reminded me as it drew to a close the in the end is a new beginning for spring would come once again with new hope and new opportunities. It reminds us that everyone must die, to not be afraid of death because in that end is a beginning.
When a death is fresh it is hard to sometimes see the beginning that is taking place in this end. It is a new beginning for all who must learn to live without this person and it is not without pain or fear. So this book that brings me much comfort reminds me of a lesson learned long ago, death does not discriminate because of age, health, gender, nationality or faith tradition it is a part of life and living. It is something that we need to accept so that we can continue to live and know that in the end there is a new beginning for everyone.